Monday, October 18, 2004

Train ride to Chicago NTEN

Just took Amtrak from the Twin Cities to Chicago for the first time in 20 years.
One word--Relaxing: 3 miles to the train station; Train boarding started 10 minutes after I arrived; About 300 steps from being dropped off at the station to my seat on the train; Big, comfortable seats with foot rests; Walked to the dining car for lunch; Sat in the lounge/scenic view car to watch the multi-colored leaves; Got a lot of work done.
Walked out of the train and up the stairs at Chicago Union Station on time and walked to my hotel.

It's interesting to compare this to flying to Chicago Midway: 20 minute drive through highway construction to the airport; Check in with baggage (because there are things they don’t allow you to take on the plain); Go through security; Get to gate (usually at the end of one of the concourses); Small seats, if the person in front of you reclines the seat—you’re screwed; 1 hour gate to gate instead of 8 hours (a good thing); Wait for baggage; Get to the loop from the airport.


Sunday, October 17, 2004

The greatest insult song

I was walking our dog, listening to Dylan's Blood on the Tracks. It contains one of the best insult songs of all times--Idiot Wind.

Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your mouth,
Blowing down the backroads headin' south.
Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your teeth,
You're an idiot, babe.
It's a wonder that you still know how to breathe.

Great theme song for the Presidential debates.

Full lyrics at


Tuesday, October 12, 2004

It's Perfectly Legal

The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits sponsored a lunch presentation by David Cay Johnston about his new book Perfectly Legal: The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich--and Cheat Everybody Else.

Some interesting points from his DEPRESSING presentation:
  • The 28,000 wealthiest Americans have the same income as the bottom 1/3 of Americans.
  • We are not seeing normal capitalism--we are seeing rigged capitalism.
  • With the current federal tax policies CEOs would not be fulfilling the fiduciary responsibilities if they didn't move jobs, capital and intellectual property out of the U.S.
  • We have a socialist tax system that redistributes income from the middle class to the filthy rich.
  • The basic, conservative basis of a progressive tax system was developed in ancient Athens. Basically, those who get the greatest economic benefit from society has the greatest obligation to make sure it endures.

With the current tax system, nonprofit organizations are going to be in deep shit.

  • Lower tax rates will reduce giving
  • Lower state tax income will reduce state funds for nonprofits.
  • As the middle class struggles with the reduced income this greatest source of nonprofit contributions will shrink.


Friday, October 08, 2004

It really is fall

Heard loud honking from Canadian Geese this morning. Six flew about 10 feet over the house--getting ready to fly south for the winter.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Cool weekend activity

Great miniture golf course at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Some interesting holes. Below is the Ice Fishing House hole. More at


Ice Fishing House Hole at Walker Art Center Miniture Golf

Friday, September 03, 2004

Real Conservatives Conserve

Republican President Teddy Roosevelt (1901 to 1903) understood that "to conserve" was fundamental to "conservative." During his presidency, Roosevelt protected approximately 230,000,000 acres as National Parks, National Forests, preserves and other protection programs. (More information available at Theodore Roosevelt Association)

Since Teddy Roosevelt, every American President (Republicans and Democrats) has increased the lands protected. That is until now. During the current administration, protections have been removed from 234,000,000 acres. In four years, the Bush administration has removed protection from more land than Teddy Roosevelt protected in 8 years. (For more information click here.)


Wednesday, September 01, 2004

More Security scam/scare

An interesting scene at the Republican Convention. Eleven protesters got through security with valid passes to stage a protest right in front of the podium. This in spite of the huge show of security around the convention site.

CNN reported that yesterday a lone protestor, with a valid pass, started climbing into the Vice President's space at the convention.

In the same story, the CNN reporter noted that when she set off a magnetometer, no one checked her.

Is this another indication that the show of security has nothing to do with real security. Is it just to scare Americans?


Weird Security

When I was in DC earlier this month, the security was very weird. You could walk within about 100 feet of the Capitol building without being stopped (see picture below). You can drive within a block. At the World Bank, you can actually drive a car under the front of one of the buildings (there are security guards but no concrete barriers). At the White House, you can not even walk within three blocks of the White House (see picture below). At various US department buildings (things under the control of the Bush Administration, security was very visible but on Sunday, there were no security guards around. (see picture below).

So why the difference? It appears the whole thing is not really about security. It is about creating paranoia among the general US population.

This is as close as you can get to the White House--about three blocks away

This is from about 300 feet from the Capital--less than one block away

Friday, August 20, 2004

Starting a blog

I've been thinking about starting this blog for about a year now. A session on blogging at the recent Alliance for Nonprofit management annual conference (second week of August, '04) has finally gotten me to get started. In fact, I've decided to start two blogs:
So, why am I starting these blogs. The reasons for the two blogs are totally different:

Nonprofit Stuff:
  • I'm starting my on nonprofit consulting practice. While I currently have a lot of visibility from my previous job creating and running MAP for Nonprofits' technology services, I need a way to keep my name and services in peoples minds. A paper newsletter was too expensive. I've thought of doing an email newsletter but getting the time to put together a whole issue has been difficult. With a blog, I can write posts whenever I have time and then remind people to visit the blog with a periodic email.
  • Most people think I mainly work with technology. What I really do is implementing new programs and help nonprofit organizations improve their operation. Technology is one of the tools I use. A blog will help me expand my image in the community beyond just technology.

Random stuff blog:

  • Being an independent consultant can be lonely.
  • I like to talk about my experiences with others. Being an independent consultant limits that (see"lonely" above).
  • I need a place to rant about the current Republican administration in Minnesota and in Washington DC.

I'll be adding things to these blogs randomly so check back.